Ambassador Branstad Press Huddle on President Trumps Visit

Great Hall of the People

Beijing, China

AMBASSADOR: It went very well. There’s a lot of work that goes into something like this. We got a great team here. They work really hard and it’s obviously a big highlight and I think the Chinese have done a great job. I mean, that event last night at the Forbidden City and then first the Great Hall of the People here. Never thought I’d be standing in front of the Great Hall of the People seeing a review of the troops. My God, it was pretty impressive. And just the way they played both national anthems, the 21 gun salute, and everything.

REPORTER: Is there a bit of flattery going on here, that President Xi is trying to maybe butter President Trump up?

AMBASSADOR: Well I think they’re very good at that. But there’s also been very honest, frank discussions on areas of differences as well. But I think the chemistry between the two leaders is good. I think you can see that. The meeting in Florida went very well. They had the meeting in Hamburg. They’ve had nine telephone calls. Now, that’s pretty much unprecedented.

REPORTER: Nine telephone calls?

AMBASSADOR: Nine telephone calls between the two leaders.

REPORTER: All these since Election Day you’re saying.

AMBASSADOR: Yeah, since Election Day. One of them I think was before the Inauguration but it’s a total of nine.

REPORTER: More with Xi than any other world leader do you think?

AMBASSADOR: Well, I don’t know. I can’t speak for that. But obviously, North Korea is an important part of that phone call.

REPORTER: What was the balance between trade and economic issues and North Korea?

AMBASSADOR: North Korea I think is the number one concern but trade is also a huge issue. Then there’s other issues like fentanyl. We’re working together to combat this dangerous illegal drug and there’s been good cooperation there. I think there’s gonna be even more. And there’s a number of other issues that were involved in the core dialogue as well.

REPORTER: That line, “I don’t blame China”, that he just said in there seemed to draw some applause. Where did that come from and what do you-?

AMBASSADOR: That’s the President’s words. I think what he is saying is China is pursuing its own national interests. You can’t blame any country for doing that. We just have to do a better job of doing that for the United States of America.

REPORTER: Are there any specific deliverables we should expect out of this portion of the trip?

AMBASSADOR: Well, we just witnessed the signings. I think this is an all-time unbelievable amount of over $250 billion dollars. A lot of it’s in the energy area. Things like LNG and coal, a couple of areas that are really important and obviously soy beans. But there’s auto parts, Boeing with the airplanes.